Our older years should be about living our best lives. But most seniors don’t know where to start. Like all great periods in your life, making the most of 55+ may require a bit of legwork. Luckily, we’ve put together our top four ideas on living your best life, over 55.
Opportunities to enrich are everywhere, but you need to be open to listening. The advice comes from Dick and Pat Galusha, residents at Immanuel’s independent retirement community in Omaha, The Arboretum. (See their story here) The couple has done little slowing down in their retirement years, but it’s exactly what they say keeps them feeling young. Dick and Pat actively volunteer are the Henry Doorly Zoo, are leaders with The Arboretum’s recycling program, are avid gardeners and organize social events with neighbors. That doesn’t even include Dick’s near daily 20-30 mile bike rides with fellow seniors. For them, 55+ has meant staying active with activities that foster connections with others. But it wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t say ‘yes.’
Lend a Hand
There’s no better feeling than helping out someone else. And in our older years, when social circles get smaller and priorities beg to be redefined, focusing on lending your talents to those in need can provide a special experience. Volunteer opportunities are everywhere, but try to match your skills and interests with the need. If you like to be outside, contact your local parks and recreation department for ideas. If you love business, there are many administrative volunteers needed for non-profit organizations that don’t have the budget to hire experts. If you love children, offer to teach Sunday School at your church. There are always opportunities to lend a hand, but matching your interests with the need will give extra meaning to 55+.
As we age, social circles get smaller and families spread out. As you approach 55+ you may be wondering how your family or friend groups remain connected. What’s the new balance? The beauty of technology today means it’s never been easier to keep in touch with loved ones. Connect with far-away family members through video chatting and phone calls. Don’t be afraid to set up a regular schedule for connecting and ask for help in using new programs. In your social circles, plan activities that get friends together. If you don’t have a close friend group, reach out. Gyms, senior centers, churches, community centers, libraries and more may have organized activities or regular meeting groups that encourage connection. Isolation is a dangerous problem for seniors, leading to depression, chronic diseases and even death.* The time has never been more important to make social connection part of your 55+ plan.
Be Open to New Opportunities
There are a lot of opportunities available for people turning that 55+ corner. Many people think retirement communities are only for those who need health care support, but independent 55+ campuses are becoming more and more popular and can provide no-maintenance, worry-free environments with social engagement opportunities around every corner. Why are older adults flocking to independent, 55+ communities? Senior living consultants at Immanuel say that more than ever, older adults are looking for no-maintenance homes (no yard work, no fixing broken sinks, etc.) that fit their empty-nester lifestyles. They say adults 55 and older are looking to downsize but don’t want to live in apartment buildings where college students or young professionals live very different lifestyles. At Immanuel, our our independent living communities are supported with life enrichment and wellness staff who work to offer travel opportunities, regular meeting groups and wellness support, making the perfect first step toward making the most of 55+.
Making the most of 55+ means keeping yourself open to new experiences, new friends and new opportunities. Don’t close yourself off to living the retirement years of your dreams. If you need help finding direction, check out our Retirement Planning Guide (download HERE!). It provides more ideas for you to create your retirement plan and start living your best life.